If you own a home, car, or small business, you probably have insurance to protect you in the event of an unexpected tragedy or accident. We depend on our insurance to cover our needs and make it easier to move on after disaster hits. That’s why most people never expect that their insurance company will be the one causing more problems rather than fixing them. When you are accused of insurance fraud, that’s exactly what happens.
If you are accused of insurance fraud, it means that your insurance company suspects that you submitted a claim that is either totally false or even just exaggerated in order to collect money you don’t deserve. Anyone can find themselves the target of a fraud investigation, especially when a claim is large—even if your claim is legitimate. Whether or not you believe your claim to be legitimate, these are serious charges that you may need the help of an experienced Ohio fraud lawyer to fight.
Hard Vs. Soft Fraud
Typically, there are two different types of insurance fraud: hard fraud and soft fraud.
- Hard Fraud: This is they type of insurance fraud most people associate with criminal actions. When someone commits hard fraud, they deliberately fake an accident, injury, theft, arson, or other loss to collect money illegally from insurance companies. Examples could include setting a fire on your own property, staging a car accident, faking a theft, and other major schemes to collect insurance payouts.
- Soft Fraud: Fewer people realize that soft fraud is a crime that can be prosecuted as a felony. A soft fraud is committed when a normally honest person “pads” a legitimate claim. Example could include exaggerating an injury that occurred in a car accident, claiming for more expensive items than were actually stolen after a burglary, and other slight exaggerations on insurance claims.
While soft frauds may not seem like a big deal, either action can lead to serious felony charges.
Ohio Insurance Fraud Penalties
Any fraudulent claim over $1,000 will be prosecuted as a felony in Ohio. Depending on the amount of the fraudulent claim, you face the following penalties:
- 6 months – 5 years incarceration
- Fines of $2,500 – $10,000
- Loss of business licenses
- Other civil penalties
In addition, you face serious collateral consequences, such as difficulty finding employment, loss of federal benefits, and more.
Even small frauds can lead to severe penalties. If you are accused of insurance fraud amounting to a claim under $1,000, you still face first-degree misdemeanor charges. The penalty if convicted could include a fine of up to $1,000 and up to 180 days in jail. As you can see, even fudging just a little bit on an insurance claim can lead to devastating consequences.
Help from a Cincinnati Insurance Fraud Defense Attorney
Insurance fraud is defined according to the Ohio Revised Code (ORC 1913.47) as knowingly committing an act to fraudulently receive a benefit of advantage to which you were not initially entitled to receiving. Essentially this means filing false, exaggerated or distorted insurance claims for the purpose of collecting money.
An insurance fraud conviction results in serious penalties. If you are convicted of insurance fraud and the amount of the claim involved is less than $1,000 you will face a first-degree misdemeanor. If the amount of the claim involved is more than $1,000 and less than $7,500 you will face a fifth-degree felony. If the amount of claim involved is more than $7,500 and less than $150,000, you will face a fourth-degree felony. If the amount of the claim involved is more than $150,000 you will face a third-degree felony. Learn how a Cincinnati insurance fraud lawyer may be able to help.
Call the Cincinnati Insurance Fraud Defense Lawyers with LHA Today
If you are accused of insurance fraud, you need to take action to clear your name right away. Don’t just assume that the issue will get straightened out on its own. An experienced Ohio fraud lawyer will be able to work with you to try to prove the validity of your claim and ensure your rights are protected. At Luftman, Heck, and Associates, we have the experience and skills to help you get through this difficult time more easily. Call Cincinnati fraud lawyer Brad Groene today at (513) 338-1890 or email us at email@example.com for a free consultation on your case. Discover how we may be able to fight these fraud charges.